Headteacher Darren Gidman, Jane Kennedy from the School Leadership Team and seven students from Year 9 travelled over 5,000 miles to China to meet representatives from its sister school and begin the exciting new partnership.
Both St John Bosco and the Chinese Education Bureau are passionate about widening the horizons of the young people in its care and providing opportunities for students to gain a greater understanding of each other's cultures.
By 2020, the British government's ambition is to ensure that an additional 5,000 students leave school being able to speak Mandarin. This project will establish and support school partnerships between the UK and China, inspire schools to learn Mandarin and allow schools to connect on an international scale.
St John Bosco Arts College introduced Mandarin to the curriculum in September 2016 and currently offers the language to 20 Year 7 students. Sixth form students can also learn the language as part of their Enrichment programme.
During the trip, St John Bosco toured the campus of Wenzhou No.2 Foreign Language School; took part in calligraphy and Mandarin classes; visited the Wenzhou Museum and Central Plaza; dined with local host families and entertained guests with a special farewell performance.
This summer, St John Bosco Arts College will welcome a party of Chinese students to the city and host a number of cultural activities and visits. Both schools are exploring joint projects to make the partnership accessible to all students.
Headteacher, Darren Gidman says: "We are extremely proud and honoured to have been supported in securing this opportunity by Access China UK. The trip was a fantastic experience for both myself and the girls, especially connecting with our sister school in Wenzhou and exploring ideas to continue our exciting partnership.
"As a school we always look to enhance the learning experience for both students and staff and this trip was the epitome of this. By forging international links and promoting Mandarin, this programme is really improving our students' learning and developing them into global leaders. We're looking forward to welcoming students from Wenzhou to Liverpool this summer to develop our partnership further."
Text and photos: The Foundry Agency